Hosting a stress-free party

Now that Baby is a little older, and a little less entirely dependent on you, your partner, or their other caregivers than they were even just a few months ago, you might have started thinking about certain parts of your social life that you have put on hold for a while after Baby was born.

There are parts of your social life that translate fairly easily to life with Baby, with just a few adjustments, like meeting for coffee and bringing them something to play with, or talking on the phone after they are in bed. Other things, like going to a movie theater or meeting up for drinks, either require a babysitter or are going to have to wait a few years. Party-hosting, though, falls somewhere in the middle of the two categories. It can be done, but it definitely requires a little more planning than it might have in the past.

Keep it simple

First of all, there’s no need to leap into a six-course-dinner dinner party right away, or to invite everyone you’ve ever known. If you feel comfortable planning a blow-out, you certainly can, but you’ll probably have an easier time getting back into the swing of party planning if you keep it reasonably simple the first time around.

Decide whether it’s a ‘kids’ party, or just a party your kid is at

There is definitely a difference between the two. A ‘kids’ party is one where, even if they don’t make up all, or even most of the attendees, kids are specifically on the guest list, as opposed to occasionally brought along because their parents couldn’t find a sitter. If you’re having a kids party, even if parents will be mostly supervising their own children, it can be a good idea to have some kind of activity set up for the kids to occupy themselves with. And if it’s later in the evening, it might be nice to have a space set up, like a couch or a few sleeping bags, where your smaller guests can nod off until their parents are ready to head out for the evening.

If Baby is the only expected child-guest, on the other hand, you can probably leave any child who does end up attending in his or her parents’ care and just focus on Baby.

It’s a good idea to decide ahead of time how much of the party Baby will be around for, and how much you’re hoping they will be able to sleep through. If you can, dividing up responsibilities so that between you and your partner, one of you focuses on the party and the other is on Baby-duty can be a great way to cut down on stress.

Keep baby’s schedule in mind

Late dinner parties can be a great solution while Baby is young – they have the chance to greet your guests before bed, and then you or your partner can put them down to sleep while the other one hosts before dinner. Brunches can also be a good way to have Baby and guests coexist in harmony, especially if they are growing into a little morning person. Planning parties around naps can be tricky, because the excitement of party guests can throw even the most schedule-oriented baby off their timetable, but if you time it right, naps can be a great way to divide a party into the Baby hours and the Baby-free hours, for the best of both worlds.

Consider getting a babysitter

For more elaborate or high-pressure parties, or just to keep a simple party even more low-key, consider hiring a babysitter to watch Baby in another area of your home. That way, he or she can come and get you in case of emergency, but otherwise, you can feel secure in the fact that they are being taken care of, and you can focus on your party.

For parties where there will be a few kids in attendance, hiring a babysitter or two to watch them for the length of the party while their parents socialize can be a nice occasional extravagance, too.

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